The Start-up CMO's Playbook


Wouldn’t it be great if CMOs stepping into a start-up role had a game plan to hit the ground running? Wouldn’t it be great if start-ups hiring CMOs knew what they should be expected to do and how to establish clear, actionable goals?

That’s where our Start-up CMO’s Playbook comes in. Inside, you’ll find an overview of the types of activities and goals your average start-up CMO will be expected to tackle in early-stage companies, with advice and insights from leading CMOs who have been through every high, every low, and have the experience and advice to help start-up CMOs tackle just about every challenge they might meet.

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Why have we created this playbook?

CMOs have on average the shortest tenure among C-suite executives. Often they lose their positions due to an inability to reconcile the demands and needs of other departments with the goals and projects they also need to achieve. This issue is even more pressing in the start-up world, where fast-paced changes to goals and disparate ideas on what should be prioritized at different stages can leave many CMOs struggling to keep up.

This is a major issue, both for marketers who see their careers constantly disrupted, and for companies, who waste time and resources (both of which tend to be on the low side in start-ups) on hiring, bringing new CMOs up to speed, and setting up their preferred processes and tech integrations.

And that’s why we knew it was essential to give Start-up CMOs (and those looking to be one in the future) the knowledge and frameworks they need to succeed.

What’s in the playbook?

Before we get into what you’ll find inside, first we want to be clear about what you won’t.

This isn’t a step-by-step guide on how to create marketing strategies for start-ups. The nature of start-ups, with all their diversity, different resources, locations, and personalities, means that there can never be a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing strategies in these environments.

What you will find inside, are things that will be universal to CMOs in start-ups. The managerial, operational side of things. Including:

  • What you should prioritize in your first 90 days as a CMO.
  • The relationships you should be building with key stakeholders within the organization - what their priorities are, and how you can support them with marketing to do so (and how they can support you too).
  • What to prioritize when building your marketing tech stack and operations.
  • How to work effectively with contractors and agencies.
  • Advice on your first hires and building your marketing team.
  • How to prepare yourself for your changing role as the start-up grows.

With this information in place, you’ll have the time and resources to do what you do best as a CMO: creating exciting, effective marketing strategies to grow the start-up.

If you're a start-up CMO, or on the path to becoming one, you'll find a dedicated community of CMOs to share advice and insights by joining our CMO Alliance Community Slack Channel. Sign up today!